Thursday, April 21, 2011

Game 18: Nats at Cardinals

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to take this series from the Cardinals today at Busch Stadium.
There's a decent amount riding on today's series finale in St. Louis. For one thing, the Nationals are trying to maintain a winning record heading into this weekend's series in Pittsburgh. For another, they're trying to pull off their first series victory at Busch Stadium since 2007.

Tom Gorzelanny gets the ball for his third start of the season. The lefty has the worst numbers of anyone in the Nats' rotation (0-1, 5.56 ERA) but he's actually pitched pretty well. He struck out eight in his season debut against the Mets, then earned a quality start last week against the Brewers. He'll be attempting today to continue an impressive streak: Nationals starters have gone at least five innings in all 17 games this season, the only rotation in the majors to do that.

Ian Desmond (6 for his last 16) will hit fifth today for Jim Riggleman, with Michael Morse (slugging a paltry .209) hitting sixth. Have we mentioned how much this lineup really needs Ryan Zimmerman back?

As you know by now, I'm not on this road trip, so please enjoy the dialogue amongst yourselves...

NATIONALS at CARDINALS
Where: Busch Stadium
Gametime: 1:45 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 186
Weather: Cloudy, 54 degrees, Wind 18 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (9-8)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Alex Cora
P Tom Gorzelanny

CARDINALS (9-9)
SS Ryan Theriot
CF Colby Rasmus
1B Albert Pujols
LF Matt Holliday
3B David Freese
C Yadier Molina
2B Nick Punto
RF Jon Jay
P Kyle Lohse

79 comments:

md_schmidt said...

Was good to see the Nats' bats get busted out yesterday; even if only for a brief period. All in all, Nats seem to be playing well of late.....let's hope it continues.

Ernie said...

I lost patience with Riggleman last year but I am starting to think that he was trying to play the game his way but just didn't have the players. This year he doesn't have as many defensive liabilites so the nutty double switches are gone - the ones we've gotten this year have made sense to me. Aggressive baserunning and bunting works when your players know what they're doing.

And Morse's first 3 weeks are making Riggleman look like he was right all along about not wanting to play him as a regular. Maybe Morse wil prove him wrong eventually. I think Riggleman would be happy to be wrong about that one too.

I think I'm actually jumping on the Riggleman bandwagon. (Then again, I'm fickle. I'll probably fall off quickly.)

I still don't understand the Matt Stairs thing though. Between him and Broderick it's like we're playing with a 23-man roster. At least with the doubleheaders behind us Flores is available again on the bench.

sjm308 said...

This was mentioned casually by a post in the last article and I need clarification from Mark or some of our other experts. If/when Desmond goes on maternity leave, do we get a player exemption? and what exactly is that. I would love to see them move Espinosa to short and bring up Bixler to play 2nd and leave Hairston and Cora at 3rd. Bixler is hitting well and actually hit well all spring. He has made just one error after playing kind of sloppy in FLA. He can play several positions but the problem is obvious, he is not on the 40 man roster. If this "player exemption" exists that might be the answer. Looking forward to an answer and a series win against the Cards.

go Nats!!

Tcostant said...

sjm308 said...
This was mentioned casually by a post in the last article and I need clarification from Mark or some of our other experts. If/when Desmond goes on maternity leave, do we get a player exemption?

Answer: Yes - we get to bring someone up for the two or three days he is gone and we don't need to send someone down. Once Desi is back, we need to remove a player off the roster and normal minor options apply.

Anonymous said...

As I said before, for me, the "glaring" hole in the lineup is Jason Werth. This is game 18, not game 8. He is being paid 126 MIL to hit and field, not to "mentor the kids." If the Nats want him to "mentor kids" then send Werth to the Little Leagues where there are PLENTY of kids! Werth's .206 batting average is beginning to hurt the team, especially in close games. Think 5-3.

TimDz said...

sjm308 said...
This was mentioned casually by a post in the last article and I need clarification from Mark or some of our other experts. If/when Desmond goes on maternity leave, do we get a player exemption?
_______________________________

If Desmond goes on MATERNITY leave, a player exemption will be the least of our worries...

erocks33 said...

@Anon 1:29

Yeah, and the Braves should DFA Jason Heyward too because he's only hitting .190! Dan Uggla should also be benched (.194)

The A's should dump Willingham (.200), the Red Sox should try and trade Crawford (.149) and Ellsbury (.182) and the Yankees should have a fire sale with Gardner (.128), Posada (.160) and Jeter (.219).

Lighten up ... they're not even 1/9th of the way thru the season and you're dumping on Werth already. That's like saying the home team is going to lose a game because the road team scored a run in the top of the first.

Grandstander said...

As to who would get the call up, there are only 4 position players left on the 40-man who are not on the 25-man - Marrero, Bernadina, Corey Brown and Bryce Harper. Considering they called up Flores over all those guys previously, I'm really curious as to what they're going to do here.

If it coincides with this Sunday, which it looks like it might, maybe they call up Maya to make that spot start and play with a short bench. The only other person I could see realistically bringing up is Bernadina, which I would say is the most likely scenario.

What do people think the chances are of them DFAing Chico or Severino to make room for Bixler?

Joe Seamhead said...

Werth will hit.Anybody that doesn't see what he has brought to the table just doesn't get it.If you haven't gotten it by now, nothing we say will persuade you.

Anonymous8 said...

Ridiculous strike zone against Werth. Who did he piss off besides a few Nats fans on here?

NatsJack in Florida said...

I LOVE what Jason Werth has already brought to this team.

And Grandstander... Chico has to be ON the 40 man to be DFA'd again.

Grandstander said...

My bad, I meant Mock. All our AAAA pitchers kinda blur together for me.

JD said...

Pitchers used to get fined for giving up hits on 0-2 pitches. I thinks it's a fine idea.

md_schmidt said...

Can't listen to internet radio from work.....bummer. Anyone on this thread planning to post in-game updates?

Dave said...

@ grandstander - I doubt it will be Bernadina, 9 SO's in 28 minor league ab's so far.

Anonymous8 said...

I hate to say it---Mike Morse looks lost at the plate. He has hit Lohse well up to this point.

The Joker said...

Dunn is hitting about .170. Readying himself for a big streak of home runs. Nats visit the White Sox in late June and Dunn has already promised fireworks with the bat.

The Baltimore Joker said...

Big bomb from Holliday. At this pace, Gorzelanny will give up 15 runs today. Hagerstown bound.

dj in Fl. said...

I am getting the St. Louis tv crew on Extra Innings. Last night they talked at length about
Morse, and his struggles. They said all you have to do is pitch him inside. They say he does not have the body speed to turn on those
pitches, and definetly not the ones up and in. I hope they can get him to anticipate those pitches so he is not swinging late.

ps I am vey glad we have Werth.

JD said...

Mock gave up 4 hits and 7 walks (8 runs) in 2 innings today. Time to cut that one loose.

Unkyd said...

Hey all! I posted question late in the minor league thread, which may have escaped notice, but it's really bugging me:

I was a decent sandlot athlete (when I was young, and still had knees), nothing more. I never had any trouble charging in on grounders, or tracking fly balls...it just seemed like a combination of instinct and co-ordination. Can somebody with more more experience, at a higher level of play, explain to me how relatively elite talent, like Desi and Niger (among so many others) can have so much difficulty with these seemingly instinctual abilities?

I mean... Throwing and catching is the easy part, right?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Mock has been a waste of a roster spot for over 18 months now.

Unkyd... I think your blatant miss spelling of Nyjer has made you unworthy.

JD said...

Why are we approaching this game like we have a plane to catch? can we work Lohse a bit?

NatsJack in Florida said...

JD... don't worry. Gorzelany is making up for it by going 3-2 on every hitter.


And I thought he ws supposed to top out at 93-94.

He's barely making Lannan numbers on his fastball.

Andrew said...

Nifty doubleplay started by Demond. Just glad it worked....

Exposremains said...

Here's what I would like to see:

Gaudin=DFA
Gorzolany to mop-up
DEtwiler=5th starter
Broderick to minors or return to Cards replaced by Rodriguez
Balester instead of Coffey not sure that will happen.

Anybody else agree?

alexva said...

Detwiler needs to stay where he is. He has never had sustained success at any level and he needs to prove himself at AAA for now. If he's been successful through AS break, then bring him up.

NatsJack in Florida said...

My sentiments exactly, alexva.

Anonymous8 said...

Exposremains - I would DFA Gaudin and Stairs. Broderick is an interesting one being a Rule 5. Again, if the manager has no confidence in you then it is time to go and Coffey has to be on a short leash.

Exposremains said...

Alexva

I would much rather watch Detwiler than Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny is a lesser version of Lannan.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Exposremains.... Then I suggest you move to Syracuse for a couple of months. Heck, you may get to see both there.

TimDz said...

According to the WAPO Box score, Gorzelanny has thrown 90 pitches through FOUR innings (51 strikes)

It's still just 2-0 though...

alexva said...

I'd rather watch Detwiler myself, he has flashes where he hits his spots and can be very good. But that does not mean that's what's best for him or the team.

Exposremains said...

I actually live in Syracuse so thats not the problem...Gorz is a mop up pitcher, nats need to try another 5th starter.

To A8

Nyx makes Stairs expandable. I agree

Anonymous said...

Pudge hits into so many DPs that I've gotten to calling it every time he comes up to bat with less than 2 outs and a runner on first. Ugh.

Exposremains said...

I agree its possible its too early for Detwiler

Grandstander said...

Not sure I understand the hate on Broderick. His first 2 outings were shit but his last 2 were perfect. Give him time, he's a Rule 5. I'd to cut loose this early.

SCNatsFan said...

I agree 2:59; with less then 2 out and a man on first I cringe when I see Pudge stride to the plate. Love the guy but hate the fact that, give the playing time, he'll easily lead the league in GIDP. Easily.

Grandstander said...

I'd *hate* to cut loose this early

TimDz said...

MORSE GOT A HIT!!!!!!
MORSE GOT A HIT!!!!!!

Followed by a GIDP by Pudge...

To the bottom of the 5th we go...

G Mock said...

I'm at the end of the rope, guys. I don't want to wait on tables at Cracker Barrel or be a greeter at Walmart. Maybe I'll go back to the hotel and slit my wrists. Oh woe.

Exposremains said...

The problem with Broderick is that they don't use him, so it feels like the Nats are missing a pitcher

Anonymous said...

A $126 MILLION contract means you EXPECT MORE from a $126 MILLION MAN, so why can't I expect to SEE more at the plate??? I heard all that "happy talk" from you guys when it was "only 8 games" into the season. By game 18, the $126 MILLION MAN has got to start producing. Only Morse, Pudge, Hairston, Cora, and Stairs have a lower batting average than Werth. Great company. Except for the Z-man, Ramos, and Espinosa, this team is "toothless" at the plate. And who knows when the Z-Man will play again?! Wake up and smell the coffee!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Eposremains.... such is the life of rule 5'er. He'll get his opportunities. Depending on the situation, he'll probably get in today.

Unkyd said...

OMG, Jack!!! I don't know how that got by me!! Doing too many things, when I should be working... That'll learn me to skip the preview. Nyjer goes by too many handles to keep straight, mebbe.... Help me out, though... Is it a silly question?

Grandstander said...

@ grandstander - I doubt it will be Bernadina, 9 SO's in 28 minor league ab's so far.

Well, Bixler has 17 SO's in 46 minor league ab's. Personally, I'd like to see Mock DFA'd and Bixler brought up, but why put a guy on the 40-man if you don't need to? Bernadina getting a cup of coffee makes more sense.

dj in Fl. said...

Anon 3:06
My coffee smelled great this morning.
Now, take your meds and give it a rest.
The world is not ending!

Anonymous8 said...

Broderick coming in now.

Unkyd said...

@chickenlittle....... Time to adjust your meds?

Nattydread said...

Broderick gets Pujols out. Somehow this game has settled into a pitchers duel.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Unkyd....your question is easy....you are correct in that the ability to read the ball off the bat is INSTINCTIVE.... some guys have it, most guys don't.

Consider Desmond and Morgan among MOST guys.

And to the "Med" reference.... be prepared to be lectured on the political correctness of insinuating the need for medical assistance.

And how about my Broderick call earlier, huh?

JD said...

Nice going Brian.

Anonymous8 said...

Broderick starts off with 3 balls to Pujols and then got Pujols to miss on the 3-0 pitch that looked FAT. WOW! Then gets Holliday and Frese like it is nothing.

Grandstander said...

For those paying attention, Broderick in his last 3 appearances is now:

3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB

7 of those 9 outs were on ground balls. And it was facing the hearts of the Phillies and Cards orders.

Yeah, we should totally DFA him...

JD said...

Probably means he won't start on Sunday; that's too bad. I'm guessing Lannan at this stage.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Broderick has had only 2 outings (including spring training) where he has given up runs. And 3 of his runs were given up my Slaten and Gaudin as inherited runners in his first outing of the regular season.

Gonats said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
And how about my Broderick call earlier, huh?

April 21, 2011 3:22 PM

I don't think that was a tough call if you were watching on TV as they showed Broderick warming in the bullpen.

Gonats said...

Grandstander said...
For those paying attention, Broderick in his last 3 appearances is now:


7 of those 9 outs were on ground balls. And it was facing the hearts of the Phillies and Cards 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB
orders.

Yeah, we should totally DFA him...

April 21, 2011 3:25 PM

4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 BB

NatsJack in Florida said...

Posted it before he got up. Or certainly before I could switch over to watch.

JaneB said...

Except I happen to know NatsJack saw lots of Broderick in ST, and knew that once he got past the Big League jitters, he would be worth pitching. Which he is. Don't forget that Flores was a Rule 5 guy, and now he is again a real deal, and soon to be our #2 catcher, or someone else's #1. I would love to see Bixler come up for a bit; betting it's Maya. We can't really use Bernie at the moment, I don't think. Gaudin -- I know his numbers in the past dangle the hope that he could be terrific. Haven't seen hide nor hair of "terrific" yet.

dj in Fl. said...

"Posted it before he got up. Or certainly before I could switch over to watch".

Yes you did
I cracked up when they said it on tv here.

JD said...

I could smell that one a mile away.

Gonats said...

Stairs O Hits 9 AB 4 Walks 4 K 0 RBI 0 Runs

Balester, not good. 4 run lead is game over.

LoveDaNats said...

Balester finally up to prove how he can help the Nats.........FAIL.

Anonymous said...

The Ballestar of 2011 looks a lot like the one from 2010. Fewer throws at batters's heads is all. This is what everyone was screaming about during spring training?

Desmond, Morse, Ballestar...I'm getting skeptical of people who say that we should expect improvement from these guys...

Anonymous said...

I've mentioned this before. Even with Zimmerman, this team will go through more periods with virtually not hitting than stretches when the bats are lively. This, perhaps, will be their biggest obstacle. They are what they are, too many old bats, Cora, Hairston, Pudge, Stairs, and weak ones, Morse, Ankiel. But I'm stating the obvious...


UNTERP

JD said...

LoveDaNats,

No big deal; just a bad outing. This game was lost due to lack of hitting; not bad pitching.

Mark'd said...

Exposremains may want to rewrite his GM moves. Embarrassing ending to this game.

JD said...

UNTERP,

And yet; even with a loss today the team will still be 9 - 9 without it's best player. It's amazing how quickly people turn on the team.

Balester will be fine too; as will Morse.

Anonymous8 said...

The 2 run lead can be overcome in the 9th. This is a shame because now the 5 runs looks out of reach.

Nice to see Slaten do the job too.

Nats Travel Agent X said...

Syracuse bound.

JD said...

Mark'd,

What's embarrassing? Balester didn't have it today; so what?

Anonymous said...

Not turning on the team. Just stating the obvious. Opponents will learn quickly to pitch around a couple of their players to get to the weak ones.

Small ball is the only means this team has to play on a regular basis, which too will be difficult to execute if they can't get on the base. Perhaps, except for Zimmerman, they don't have anyone on this roster to fear...



UNTERP

Jeeves said...

Deitweiler has already proven himself at triple A. In 2009 he was excellent after being sent down. When he was brought up in September, he continued to be excellent. Then he was hurt.
I'm not sure that Desi is the answer at short, but the two Chicago shortstops who are considered superb have the same (in one case) and more errors than Desmond in the other case. I wonder do their fans have the same attitude towards their shortstops as do a few people on this site. And offensively, in his rookie year, Desi had offensive stats that were as good as any in the American league, with the possible exception of said Ramirez.

Exposremains said...

At Mark'd

I still think that Rodriguez is a better option than broderick, Gaudin has to go, as for Balester that was the one I wasn't sure about, but I'm not a big fan of Coffey.

Exposremains said...

The other thing about Balester, he pitched the night before.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

The common denominator with all the bad batters? They all have same coach, who has not impressed me for three years now.

natsfan1a said...

Catching up with the thread postgame:

TimDz: +1 re. leave for Desmond.

NJ and DJ: I also love what Werth has brought to date.

JD: re. fines for giving up hits after 0-2 count, okay, but only if we can also fine hitters for swinging at the first pitch after a hit and a walk have given us two much needed baserunners (where's a Kangaroo Court when you need it)?

Meds comments, I won't lecture there. I do tend to speak up when brain disorders are used as a metaphor, but that's because of the struggles of a loved one rather than for PC reasons (but maybe that's TMI).

JD again, point taken re. being 9-9 without Zimm, and I'll take it. Here's hoping that the bats heat up in Pittsburgh (and that pitching and defense hold up their ends).

FS said...

ugh, did not watch the game, nor did follow it on gameday but getting shutout by Lohse is painful. That's pathetic. I hope we don't embarrass ourselves against Pirates.

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